Data shows Germany and UK reported nearly half of E. coli infections in EU

When combining all the recent reports of STEC/VTEC cases in 2016, it appears almost half of those reports originate from Germany and the United Kingdom, according to European statistics. It continues the trend of 2015, where the most number of cases were also reported by these two countries.

A total of 6,619 confirmed cases of infections with Shiga-toxin/verocytotoxin-producing E. coli (STEC/VTEC) were recorded in Europe in 2016. For later years the full date is not available yet, making this the most current statistic.

Germany reported the highest number of confirmed cases at 1,843, followed by the UK with 1,373 confirmed cases. The two countries accounted for 47.7 percent of all EU/EEA cases.

Not all European countries had to deal with the disease as Cyprus, Bulgaria and Portugal did not report any cases, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) surveillance report. On average, a third of people with STEC infections, with known information, were hospitalized. Ten people died.

In 2016, STEC was the fourth most commonly reported zoonosis in the European Union. The proportion of E. coli serotype O157 continued to decrease while the proportion of non-O157 STEC serogroups increased in 2016. Reporting of STEC O26 infections has been steadily increasing in the EU since 2007 in human and food samples. Raw meat, unpasteurized milk and dairy products are known potential sources of STEC infections.

In 2016, nine STEC outbreaks were reported with known causative agents. The two largest outbreaks occurred in Finland with 237 cases and the UK with 170 cases. In both outbreaks, leafy green vegetables were implicated as the vehicle of infection.

Three smaller outbreaks were caused by bovine meat and products thereof (STEC O157), two were caused by cheese (STEC O157 and O26), and one was connected to milk (STEC O80).

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